Val­ley’s Ger­man twin town vis­its

Rossendale Free Press - - Memory Lane -

IN this week’s Mem­ory Lane, we take a look back at the twin­ning of Rossendale with Bo­cholt, a town in Ger­many.

Our reg­u­lar Mem­ory Lane con­trib­u­tor, Peter Fisher, has sent us a se­lec­tion of pic­tures show­ing the his­tory and de­vel­op­ment of the re­la­tion­ship.

In May 1952, a group of young peo­ple from Bo­cholt ar­rived in Bacup, Hasling­den and Rawten­stall, as part of a visit ar­ranged by George Tom­lin­son, the then su­per­in­ten­dant of Alder Grange Youth Club.

On this date, the of­fi­cial link be­tween the two ar­eas was made.

In 1952, there was still a ra­tioning pro­gramme in place in Bri­tain, while the peo­ple of Bo­cholt were work­ing to re­build the town af­ter the dam­age it suf­fered at the end of the Sec­ond World War.

The young peo­ple trav­elled by train for two days to reach the Val­ley, cross­ing the chan­nel by ferry and then board­ing a coach for the re­main­der of the jour­ney.

The visit was hailed a suc­cess, and a re­turn visit from Rossendale to Bo­cholt was ar­ranged.

There are now hun­dreds of twin­ning links be­tween Eng­land and Ger­many. The first visit to Rossendale in­cluded Ber­hard Dem­ming, who then be­came the mayor of Bo­cholt. In 2002 he came back to Rossendale to meet friends he had made over the years, on the many vis­its he made to the Val­ley.

That first visit also led to a Rossendale-Bo­cholt mar­riage be­tween Joe An­trobus and Chris­tel Quer­bach.

In 1958, ex­change vis­its were held for the may­ors and of­fi­cials of both towns. How­ever, over the years, it has mainly been or­di­nary peo­ple mak­ing the vis­its and strength­en­ing the link be­tween the two towns.

In the past 50 years, more than 50 groups from the Val­ley have made con­tact with sim­i­lar groups in Bo­cholt.

In 1973, the foot­ball team at the White Horse pup twinned with a Bo­cholt pub, which led to the cre­ation of The Friends of KAB Ewaldi.

In 1982, Hasling­den High School made it first con­tact with a school in Bo­cholt, called Marien Gym­na­sium.

Five years later, in 1987, Saw­forth ma­jorettes made their first con­tact, and many more or­gan­i­sa­tions have forged con­nec­tions, in­clud­ing the fire ser­vice, swim­ming clubs, Scouts, Rossendale Male Voice and Ladies Choirs, brass bands and the Co­conut­ters.

This week’s first pic­ture (top left) shows a Bri­tish Youth Group in 1953.

Top right is a shot from sum­mer 1952 in Rawten­stall. Bern­hard Dem­ming from Bo­cholt (third from right) can be seen look­ing over the shoul­der of George Tom­lin­son, who started the part­ner­ship be­tween Rossendale and Bo­cholt.

Be­low this is a pho­to­graph of a group of English and Ger­man young­sters, taken early on in the twin­ning.

Un­der­neath that is a shot of a group of peo­ple from both towns dur­ing a visit to Bo­cholt.

The im­age at the bot­tom (right) shows the may­ors of Haslin­gen, Rawten­stall and Bacup dur­ing a visit to Bo­cholt in March 195, with the Bo­cholt mayor and town di­rec­tor.

Our fi­nal pic­ture of the week (above) shows a meal shared by peo­ple in­volved in the twin­ning part­ner­ship.

Have you been in­volved in any twin­ning projects in Rossendale?

Do you have mem­o­ries of vis­its - to Bo­cholt or other Euro­pean towns?

If these pic­tures bring back mem­o­ries, please get in touch.

Many thanks to all our nos­tal­gia con­trib­u­tors.

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